Major Islamic Holidays

Islam is a popular religious faith originating and practiced more commonly in the Middle-East. The basis of Islamic faith is found in the Quran as narrated by the religion’s foremost prophet- Prophet Mohammed S.A.W (peace be upon him).

Like other major religions, growth of Islam has seen a lot of challenges and setbacks which could have halted or slowed its growth, but instead, the Islamic faith has stood the test of time for it to be where it is today. To acknowledge some of the major milestones attained by this faith, there are celebrations and festivities set aside for purposes of remembrance, reflection, and worship. The following are some of the common Islamic celebrations:

Al-Hijra: This is the Islamic New Year. The Islamic calendar is made up of twelve lunar months which begin at the sunset of the first day. This means there can be major variations in dates compared to the Western (Gregorian) Calendar when certain religious festivals and observances occur. Al Hijra for instance, might occur in January, October, November, and December.

Al-Hijra begins by marking Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and his followers’ migration from Mecca to Medina. This event is considered as the true start of the Islamic faith and also the Islamic calendar. Al-Hijra is not a high profile celebration but because of its nature as a new beginning, it is considered a good time for formulating and implementing new resolutions.

Ramadan: Ramadan is considered the holiest of all the months of the Islam calendar as it is the month of fasting. It is the ninth month of the Islam calendar and Muslims observe it as a special month because they consider it a time to get closer to Allah (God). During this month, Islam adherents fast from sunrise to sunset using this time for prayer and reflection.

Eid-ul-Fitr: This is a popular Muslim occasion celebrated at the end of Ramadan to mark the end of fast. It is also known as Festival of Breaking the Fast. It is a three day long celebration where Muslims pray and feast to mark this auspicious occasion.

Eid-ul-Adha: Is also a popular Muslim event which honors the willingness and faith displayed by Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as a show of obedience to God’s command. However, right before Ibrahim made the sacrifice God provided him with a lamb to sacrifice in place of his son.

Eid-ul-Adha is usually celebrated on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Thul Hijja which coincides with the Hajj or the Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Adha by attending special Eid prayers, donning new clothes, visiting each other and sharing gifts. It is also a common sight and occurrence to slaughter sheep and camels by those who can afford it; and sharing the meat with the less fortunate. The slaughter of sheep and camel is done as a symbol of sacrifice in honor of Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah.

Mawlid: Is the celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday by Muslim adherents. This occasion is usually commemorated on the third month of the Islamic calendar. Even though its celebration is not as pompous as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha it is still observed as a notable event of the Islamic calendar

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